13 NOVEMBER 1909, Page 24

THE HARVEST WITHIN.* A GEBAT interest attaches to Captain Mahan's

book, suoh an interest as must always attach to a clear and heartfelt V.P.S.A. With 12 Pull-page Plates, and 52 Illustrations in the Teat. • The Harvest Within Thaughte on the .Life of the 'Ohrittialt. By A. T.

profession of religious faith by a layman highly distinguished in non-theological fields of thought. The book is not specula- tive. The author wishes it clearly understood that he rejects " any other foundation for Christian teaching than that of the knowledge of God as set forth in the historic Creeds," and on these lines he writes of the Christian life. In these days many narrow-minded men of uncertain con- victions are in danger of forgetting how broad and strong a foundation for practical life is furnished by this form of orthodox faith, and what a tremendous power it is for the building up of character. How manly and forceful is the following paragraph about prayer :—

"Prayer is inherently a force ; demanding energy for its de- velopment and manifesting energy in its operation. So far as concerns the development of character, which is the essence of personality, it is an exercise of the will strictly analogous to every other form of self-discipline,—to study, to control of inclinations, to exertion or self-repression of any kind. That it takes the form of simple words, uttered or unexpressed, and claims to issue in accomplishment of deeds, effecting consequences in which the end seems wholly disproportioned to the means, makes it in no sense exceptional to experience. Transformation of energy is not even an unscientific conception ; the touching of a button explodes a charge which wrecks a reef. Prayer undoubtedly claims not only to affect spiritual conditions by spiritual means, but material con- ditions as well ; either directly, or through a series of intermediate causes, as may please God."

After reading this we shall be sure that Captain Mahan takes no enervating view of the doctrine of heredity. Weaknesses of character are to be regarded, not as desperate misfortunes, but as " God's opportunity," and not merely that, but as "His method and means for elaborating a nature superior to that which would be possible to one created perfect in strength." Faith in the Creed of Christendom will, Captain Mahan believes, enable a man to move mountains, and will remove also that last stumbling-block in the way of the unbeliever, conceit. " There is no self-made man in the Kingdom of God."

We thank Captain Mahan for a piece of self-revelation which is in a high degree edifying and interesting.